Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sasha Grey's Anatomy

I hate that I actually have something to say about Entourage. I don't want to dignify that show with a reaction of any kind. But despite the mere thought of it making my skin crawl, Tenebrae and I sometimes end up accidentally watching it while waiting for True Blood to come on.

Apparently the internet is up in arms about Sasha Grey's pubes (thanks Lillian), which in itself is tragic. But, I actually saw this episode, and there's more. Lots more, to be said about pubes.

While I could easily look up the characters' names to make this read smoother (haha, pun unintended), I'm not going to. I'm going to cling for dear dignity to fact that I don't know most of their names, thus repeatedly reminding you that I cannot stand this show. Which brings me to another sort-of-point. It kind of irritates me when people deliberately let themselves get vocally annoyed with parts of the media that they know they don't relate to and don't want to relate to. That is to say, everyone around you can assume that you disagree with this thing, so why are you belaboring the obvious? And yes, that is what I'm doing now. It's also what I used to do with Sex and the City. That show makes my skin crawl as well and I dislike all the characters, and yet I've seen almost every episode. At least once per episode, a character would say or do something that would send me into a rage. But, that's the thing I enjoyed about it; disagreeing so vehemently helped me form and refine my own opinions. That said, I think Entourage is Sex and the City for bros, and is much worse.

First of all, it is to be assumed (at least by me) that most of Entourage's audience is comprised of douche bags. If you are not otherwise a douche bag and yet like this show, it does not necessarily automatically turn you to a douche...but it does make me awfully suspicious. All this is to say, why should I bother commenting on the fact that assholes are outraged that Sasha Grey has some pubic hair? She defends herself well, and doesn't seem to need me ranting.

What's a little more interesting though, is that no one in the show comments on it. In fact, the great pube conversation in that episode was a guy being put off by a woman shaving everything. Turtle (yes I know his name; how could I forget one so fitting?) divulges to his bro-friends that his heretofore hard-to-get Latina love interest (HHTGLLI?) was completely shaved, and that it threw him off, distracted and confused him. He simultaneously divulges that he doesn't do any grooming at all, while the other men say that they do a little bit, but aren't too eager to talk about it. That one scene simultaneously promotes different degrees of pubic grooming for both genders, without making one particular method sound like an absolute norm. I was actually a little bit begrudgingly impressed.

But don't worry, it all went to shit a couple scenes later. Turtle is in bed with HHTGLLI a second time, trying to make up for the awkwardness of the first. He ends up telling her that the reason for the previous awkwardness was his surprise at her shaved vag, that he had dreams about Pacman all night (?!). She then asks if that was the reason that he was suddenly smooth down there. He says yes, it was because of her, to which she laughs and says, "Guys aren't supposed to shave it all! Just trim." They laugh and make out, and my perception of the show is shot right back to where it started. "SUPPOSED TO?" No two words in that context could possibly make me angrier. But, like I said before, it's Entourage; I know I'm not its target audience, and I don't want to be. In that regard, it seems rather pointless, even tragic, for me to have spent this much time writing about it. Too late.

Currently, my own pubes are purple to match my hair. I am deadly serious, very pleased with it, and actually have quite a lot to say about this. However, I cannot do it justice at the moment, considering that I have to get up smooth-ass-crack-of-the-morning early in the morning for work. For now, purple. Completist. That is all.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Further exercises in public vanity

On Sunday starting at 11am, I did a pinup and a fetish photoshoot back to back. Between this and just recently starting my real-people job, I have woken up before 9am three out of the last five days. And no, I haven't been going to bed any earlier than my usual nocturnal self. That said, it might take more brainpower than usual to write a simple blog post.

This shoot was really the first one I've done intentionally; the only other legitimate shoot I've done was when I accompanied Sally to hers, and got roped into it on the spot (even "unprepared" I was wearing appropriately elaborate underthings). This pinup shoot was planned months in advance, but the fetish one I was asked to do just last week, to replace people who flaked out of it. The only person I knew was the photographer, a club-friend of mine who asked me to do it in the first place. I was very nervous going into this, because I assumed that I would be the least experienced person involved, by far. That turned out not to be quite true; there was a huge range.

One other girl in the pinup shoot had to undergo a self-induced transformation (as in, we all did our own makeup, hair, and wardrobe) like I did to then join the fetish shoot. I started out with wavy hair, red lipstick and cat-eyes, later to have straight pigtails (the most rushed and half-assed flat ironing job I've ever done, sadly), purple lipstick with black liner and big black eyeshadow. I barely knew anyone there, and because of this it was particularly interesting to witness their responses to the so-called transformation. I didn't think much of it, other than that it was a lot of work to do in a short amount of time. But people were very vocal about how shocked they were at how much I changed my look. The funny thing is that I regularly use every aspect of both of those looks, and I don't think I appear all that different. And no one I'm close to seems to think so, either. Another oddly interesting thing I noticed was how intimidated I was to talk to the fetish models when I was still in retro clothing. Once I put on vinyl boots and considerably little else, I felt that I could be much friendlier. Clearly, the point of most fetish gear is to look intimidating, and I guess, well, sometimes it works.

The fetish shoot (using "fetish" loosely here: there was no bondage or even simulated bondage, it was mainly a vinyl/latex-based goth shoot) was for Von Gutenberg. I assume for the website's blog rather than a printed magazine, but I'm honestly not sure. A guy was there from the magazine to interview all the write an article. Only one girl knew this in advance, and that was because he was her friend. I asked one of the other women, a very kind and light-hearted dominatrix later to be covered in lube and latex, what was going on with the laptop guy. She explained that she was getting severely annoyed at being forced to talk about herself without seeing what he was writing; she was a writer and the whole thing felt aggravating and backwards. I agreed on all points. Had we been warned in advance, the two of us could have written some stuff down ourselves and given it to him instead of being put on the spot. Me trying to talk about myself while this guy typed my nervous and convoluted thoughts felt like a trainwreck.

Anyway, the point of writing about this isn't really supposed to be to recount the events of the day. I've had a lot of hang ups about the idea of modeling, many of which stand in stark contrast to my bold promotion of positive vanity. For years people have asked from time to time if I modeled, and I used to really enjoy saying "No." I think my "No" meant a few things:

1) I may put a lot of work into how I look, but it is not the end-all be-all. I have other things going on in my head and in my life.
2) Modeling is such a conventional way to channel excessive vanity. How dare you assume I go about it that way.
3) My vanity is not for profit. It is a service to myself.

Those are the high-horse semi-philosophical reasons, anyway. The rest is the fear of trying and failing. Cultivating vanity for my own enjoyment is one thing; claiming that other people should care, focus on it, and take part in it is another thing entirely. And I always assumed that needing to be sexy on command would feel embarrassing and silly to a crippling degree. Again, because of the fear of failure. And there is something extra degrading when the thing you're failing at is looking sexy, when that's what you're there to do.

Somewhere along the line, saying No stopped feeling like the right thing. But admitting that I’d like to get into seemed embarrassing. I’ve gotten over myself. Doing things like this does not have to imply that I want to Be a model by any means. But I do want it to be something that I can do, whether for fun, for extra income, or Dandy fodder. I really have been thinking of it as Dandy fodder, and research for writing. After all, what is it that I write about? Aesthetics, sexuality, vanity, performance. And what is modeling, but the intersection of all of those things? It’s just that many people don’t engage their brains when they do it, or so the stereotype goes anyway.

I tried to convey this a little bit to the Von Gutenberg guy without sounding condescending or pretentious, and I’m pretty sure I failed on many levels. Although, I think I did two goods things for myself in this awkward interview. First, after seeing that he spelled my name wrong, I just asked him if I could use a different one. So for the first time, I got to use a fake name that I’ve secretly wanted to use for something ever since I started taking Latin in seventh grade. I will appear as Vesta. I needed an opportunity like this to start using it; just telling people that I’ve made up a fake name without a purpose crosses some lines of pretension. Second, I talked about Aesthetisexuality as my philosophy and as a writing project that I’ve been working on. I don’t think I did a very good job of explaining it, so it may turn out quite warped. But even so, I’m glad that I’m unleashing it into the world, especially associated with the name Vesta.

The next day, I felt like I had run a yoga marathon, whatever that might mean. Apparently holding unnatural poses around vintage cars and other women for eight hours in the Northridge sun can do that.

Yes, I will probably post pictures here when I get them.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Make Up Sex

No, not like that. Or like that. I guess that phrase can have a few meanings.

I'm intrigued by the phenomenon of men (meaning pretty much any kind of male- boys, guys, gay, straight, whatever) letting their female friends or girlfriends put makeup on them, and it gratifying the girl more than anything. And no, I am not talking about myself. The reason I am not part of the phenomenon is one word: Let. Well, when I was fourteen or fifteen, yes. In early high school, yes, my male friends Let me put eyeliner on them to go to Rocky, and I had great fun doing it. And that was around the time that I began to really develop my attraction to super femme and androgynous men, so turning my regular male friends (some straight, some gay, some not yet out) into something that I found vaguely attractive was interestingly empowering. But perhaps I don't need that kind of so-called empowerment. I do not want to bend people to my will; I want them to fit my will on their own.

And in this way, and perhaps others too, make up is a lot like sex to me. I don't want some un-aesthete to Let me do stuff to him. And, also like sex to some people, maybe that was satisfying in high school, but as you gain experience, that particular brand of passivity becomes depressing. Okay, perhaps that was a stretch. But work with me here. What I mean is that in a similar way that one might want an eager and somewhat experienced sexual partner, I am attracted to men with cosmetic prowess. I do not want to be the one in control. If anything, it is hotter to have an aesthete male assist with my makeup or hair rather than vice versa (though depending on the situation, that can leave me feeling inferior and dependent). In a similar vein, many of the aforementioned women profess the hotness of boys wearing their clothes. That I understand and agree with more, though I'm often filled with envy when my clothes look better on a male body (because of my preferences, envy and lust have oft been intertwined; it's a strange life). And much like my preference for cosmetically skilled men, I find it much hotter to wear a boy's girl clothes than to give him mine. First and most importantly, it means he buys his own girl clothes. Second, I get to take rather than give, which is unusual when it comes to aesthetic exchanges between men and women. And hey, such are the joys of having a boyfriend who wears girl clothes, and often buys them too small by accident. I've racked up quite a collection.

I think all of this is a big part of aesthetisexuality as a whole. I don't want to impose my aestheticism onto someone when it is not their own. While they may look hot in my craft, it is not real. And if it didn't come from within, the attractiveness it produces is shallow in the most traditional sense. With aesthetisexuality, beauty is not (necessarily) skin deep because of all the thought, and often non-normative thought, that goes into it.

Autonomous aesthetic will is very important to me. In fact, forget who's doing whose makeup. The most satisfying primping situation is Tenebrae and I standing side by side in the bathroom, barely talking or even looking at each other, each doing our own makeup and hair before going out. It's like visual foreplay that pretty much never leads to actual sex. But then, I'm really kind of a creep.

My guess about girls who find genuine joy in dressing up and making up their boys is one of a couple of things. First, they may not yet have had the privilege of knowing males with their own aesthetic will and skill. This was kind of true of me at fifteen. Or, more often, I suspect that these women don't generally go for femme men, but still find it tantalizing and appealingly deviant in that particular situation. For example, I have known many, many women who claim attraction to femme or androgynous men, but have never dated or pursued one in reality. And I'm not saying that they are somehow bluffing, or anything like that, but rather that it is just not an ingrained priority. It is a fun addition. And hey, I'm certainly not frowning on that. A world full of men who are even just willing to once in a while test the waters of femininity, and not cling for dear life to traditional masculinity sounds freaking great to me.

This reminds me. For years I have had the idea of putting together a glossy hardcover book (as I avoid the term "coffee table book") of photos of people doing their makeup. All kind of people in all settings, from all walks of life. Over the top goth men and women, normal natural women, drag queens, drag kings, performers doing stage makeup, people doing each others' makeup to go out- everything imaginable. But I am not a photographer. And I could only model for one or two photos. So eventually I really do want to organize, catalyze, and I guess Produce this thing with the help of others. I'm not aware of anything specifically like this that already exists, and I hope my ignorance is correct.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Club androgyny again. This month it was serial killer themed, which, granted, has nothing to do directly with androgyny. (And yet the theme for the last DV8 was 70s Glam Rock, essentially the epitome of androgyny in a genre; no one seems to think these things through.) Anyway, the club isn't even the point.

Afterward, Tenebrae and I went to Benito's for some post-club foodings, dressed in the aftermath of Michael Myers and Freddy, respectively. That place on a friday or saturday after 2am is a drunken douchebag madhouse, and yet we still put ourselves through it almost once a week. Even when we too are drunk, I am acutely aware of how much nicer and calmer we are than everyone else, especially on top of all the blatant stares we get. This time, we called in our order so that we could get in and out quickly. While we were waiting to pay, a Filipino bro broke away from his friends to compliment the blood on my face and ask us where we came from. Tenebrae said he DJ'd a club. The bro asked what club. He said it had a serial killer theme this month. Again, the bro asked what club specifically.
"Club Androgyny."
"Androgyny? Wow, sounds dangerous. But hey, I guess you guys got out ok!"
"Dangerous?" I asked, though I knew precisely what he meant.
"Yeah, androgyny. Could be dangerous, you know?"
"What the hell do you mean DANGEROUS?" I was actually raising my voice to a stranger and having fun doing it.
"You really don't know what I mean? Androgyny. Do I have to EXPLAIN it?"
"Well, maybe to YOU it sounds dangerous, but not everyone agrees with you!"
"Okay, okay, I'm from the south so, you know, yeah."
"I see. Well, that's your own problem then."
He retreated back to his friends, and I focused on containing my giddiness.

When he got frustrated and offered to explain, I know he suspected that we didn't know the meaning of 'androgyny,' and that's why we weren't agreeing with him. Usually when we go to Benito’s, we are both in full club or Rocky regalia, meaning that Tenebrae too is makeup and a dress; people stare at us but no one says anything. But the aftermath of Michael Myers meant a navy blue jumpsuit and just a bit of smudged eyemakeup that had been under a mask earlier. Had it been a usual night, I suspect he either would not have complimented us in the first place, or at least wouldn’t have tried to explain why androgyny is “scary.” Unless, of course, he didn’t know what he was talking about in the first place.

But in all fairness, he really was not necessarily being a dick. That is, he was not being a dick on the scale of Bros After Bars; he essentially backed down and agreed to disagree. And I got so much unfamiliar exhilaration from yelling at him, and putting him in what I thought would be his place, that it makes me wonder if, in all glorious irony, I was the one being the boisterous confrontational asshole in Benito's at 2:30am. Even so, I don't think that I was out of line at all. What angered me was not even his fear of androgyny, and probably queerness in general, but his assumption that strangers would automatically feel the same. Especially strangers who have visibly different lifestyles, and just came from club that would send him running back to his frat house in tears. As They say, assuming makes an ass out of you and me. But, mostly just you, Asian Southern Bro; it made me feel freakin' awesome.


That reminds me of another incident, it had to be over a month ago. After Blue Monday, I was at IHOP in Hollywood with Chris and Emma. We sat in a booth at the back of the restaurant, the two of them facing me while I faced the front. Throughout our conversation and feeding, I couldn't help but keep an eye on the group trickling in through the door. Three short, bro-like men came in, two were Indian and wearing boyband-stye open dress shirts, and the third was white with a buzz cut and flannel shirt. I’m inclined to say that all three of them were rather short, but really, the women they were with were just extremely tall. These women were clearly transgender. Not only were they Amazonian in stature, but they were the epitome of sculpted, overdone femininity. All three of them had bare, tan legs and stiletto heels, and tiny, skin-tight mini skirts or dresses. At least one of them was Asian, I’m not quite sure, but all of them gave the impression of living, breathing anime characters. Though much like drag queens in presentation, they had real, visible cleavage.

The juxtaposition of these towering caricature women with average, nondescript men left me wondering relentlessly who was in on what. It seemed impossible that the men could be oblivious to the tranny aspect of their counterparts, but they really did not seem like the type who would be interested in that, or even unbothered by it. It also seemed sad that such elaborate ladies would be interested in such boring, mousy little people.

Soon they were seated on the opposite side of a restaurant from us. They were no longer visible from my vantage point, gave up my distraction until we were getting ready to pay. Right as we were about to leave, I heard from their unseen corner, “HER VOICE SOUNDS LIKE A MAN. LOOK AT HER HANDS! FUCK THIS!” Two of the three men stormed out, while the tranny women stood yelling, “YOU’RE JUST SCARED, BE A MAN!” Emma and Chris were both overcome with surprise, but I knew exactly what was going on. I whispered across the table, “They walked in with trannies, I could tell from all the way over here. I’ll tell you about it in a minute.” As we walked out into the parking lot, a car pulled in front of us, and the passenger rolled down his window. It was the two Indian men, but Chris and Emma didn’t know that.

“Did you see what happened in there?”
Chris leaned in, possibly thinking they were bystanders as well, asking, “Not really, what the hell was that?”
“Well, those girls we were with? They were GUYS.” His eyes bugged as he waited for a reaction. I leaned in.
“Hey hey, no offense, it’s just weird. Kinda like they lied to us, you know?”
“Oh, like they owe you their whole life stories? Come on, it was pretty obvious anyway, use some judgment.”
The driver leaned over to disperse the confrontation. “Anyway, we’re going to an after party and you guys seem pretty chill. Wanna come pop a pill with us?”
“Ha, that you were going to give to the dates that you’ve rejected? No thanks.”
“We’re Indian, so when we promise a good time we mean it.”
Chris, acting much friendlier than I, just said, “No thanks man, we just came from a club and we’re going home now.”
“Yeah, thanks but I have to work in the morning,” Emma added.
Excuses, excuses. We said our goodnights politely.

First of all, it’s quite ironic that the people who are most intolerant of gender queerness are also the most oblivious to it, and therefore the most likely to make a mistake. If it has all the trappings of femininity, complete with real tits, it must be and must have always been a woman, right? Wrong. If they were a little more aware of nuance, then they could avoid hitting on these women in the first place, and therefore avoid situations that bring out their true douche colors.

Much like the last incident, it’s not their personal preferences that upset me, it’s their drastic assumptions. It’s one thing for them to be weirded out by unknowingly leaving a club with trannies (it was pretty clear that they had just met that night, that this was not an ongoing thing); it is another thing entirely to share their disgust with complete strangers and expect them to agree. They automatically assume that their point of view is universal, and I wanted so badly for them to know that it’s not. I wasn’t that angry about them being transphobic in the first place, but for assuming that my friends and I would be too. I take offense to that, and I wanted them to know. They did handle my little confrontation rather well, and they were not defensive or dismissive to me. I was rather baffled by them wanting to hang out with us, and I wanted to ask why they were so sure that I was a “real” girl. I’m pretty sure that stayed inside my head, though.

In conclusion, I am bromophobic.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I want your horror, I want your design

People have been asking my opinion on Lady Gaga for quite some time now, so I figured that I should probably formulate one. Honestly, what intrigues me most about her is the simple fact that people keep asking my opinion, implying that her persona directly relates to mine. My cousin (a nineteen year old gay boy, for what that's worth) actually said that she reminded him of me. But all I really knew of her were the songs and videos that got overplayed in San Francisco gay clubs while I lived there, and my initial reaction was something along the lines of "overrated, but I appreciate that she presents herself as a faux queen." I stand by that statement, but there is much more that I can add to it now.

As far as her music goes...well, it doesn't go very far at all. I find it a little less annoying than a lot of other super-pop, but nothing about it actually appeals to me. What I find interesting, though, is that when I say that her music is secondary to her performance, appearance, or persona, it's not a negative statement. While it's not necessarily of better quality or depth than other pop music, it has an entirely different meaning. Which is to say, I guess, that it has a meaning at all. I read an interview with her in Rolling Stone in which she referred to her own music as "soulless." I honestly respect that. She is open about its emptiness in an obviously intentional Andy Warhol-esque way. That said, the bulk of my criticism and intrigue really has nothing to do with her music. So, on to the good stuff.

After talking to people and doing internet research, I want to address three comments that seem to recur in multiple conversations and forums.
1) "She is the female David Bowie."
2) "She is unattractive."
3) "She is a hermaphrodite/tranny."

I'm not so much concerned with agreeing or disagreeing with these statements, but rather with thinking about what they mean and why they keep coming up.

1) The specific phrasing of this statement has everything to do with its meaning. For instance, "Lady Gaga is the female David Bowie" is a world apart from "Lady Gaga is a new David Bowie." I have heard and read both, but I will have more fun addressing the former because it seems so thoroughly, utterly wrong to me. Saying that she is the female David Bowie implies that the main difference between them is their genders. And because playing with gender expression and performance is one of the most prominent things that they have in common, differentiating them using only their physical sexes disregards both artists. It disregards his androgyny and her faux queen persona, and when these aspects of their careers are cast aside, they actually have very little in common. I would only agree that she is a new David Bowie to the extent that Marilyn Manson could have also been considered a new David Bowie. And neither of them really are, except to the extent that they both incorporate persona, performance, and gender play into their careers, such that they are not just musicians but performance artists. So, I think it would be more appropriate to say that she is a mainstream Marilyn Manson. But somehow, that just doesn't have the same ring.

Also, I may be biased. There has not been a new David Bowie, and there probably never will be. He is one of a kind, and will always continue to be the new David Bowie, ever evolving, even after death. That is, if death can touch him.

2) While appearance is clearly integral to her music career, appearance and prettiness need not be intertwined. Whether she is or is not attractive isn't really relevant. That isn't to say that people are not allowed to establish whether or not they find her attractive, but many people seem to place too much worth on their conclusion. As if by finding her unattractive, she has failed as an artist, or does not deserve her fame. (Whether or not she deserves her fame is certainly a good question, but its answer doesn't rest on prettiness.) I would agree that she is not particularly "pretty," but unlike other vapid pop stars, she does not "need" to be. She is fabulous, in the draggiest sense of the word, and fabulousness can go a lot farther than prettiness. If she was merely pretty, then she would just be another Christina Aguilara, and I would never have given this much thought to her existence. That said, her face does unfortunately remind me of Paris Hilton. However, the only reason that I consider Paris Hilton ugly is her desperation to not only be mainstream pretty, but to be the pinnacle of mainstream pretty, and the public is supposed to pretend that she succeeds without irony. Lady Gaga, on the other hand, piles on the camp and theatrics in a way that distracts from her actual face and body while simultaneously displaying them prominently.

3) When I begin to type "Lady Gaga" into a google search, the first suggestion that comes up is "Lady Gaga hermaphrodite." This in itself is pretty fascinating. And since google kept suggesting it, I had to investigate. Each article seems to conflict with the last, and nothing appears all that credible in the first place. However, the most important conclusion that I've reached is that it does not matter what her physical or chromosomal sex or whatever is, in the first place. Its relevant, yes, but all that really matters is the questions and so-called scandal around it. If I had to make a guess, which I'll admit isn't based on very much at all, I would guess that she is a "normal" XX woman and she started the rumor intentionally. And I do not mean this in a dismissive way at all, but rather that I suspect this rumor to be a deliberate part of her persona.
But, I have no actual, sound reason to believe this; it's just a theory. No matter how the rumor started, people seem very caught up in it, and I think that the reason for this is bound up in question #2. I know that the majority of the public does not think about these things critically or with great depth; sorry, The Public, but you guys kind of suck most of the time. I think that when people jump to the conclusion that she is intersexed or transgendered (not that they use such proper words), what they're really reacting to is a woman behaving like a drag queen, a female impersonator, and they don't quite know how to process what they are seeing. In my opinion, when she looks her best (that is to say, the most impressive and intriguing, not traditionally pretty), she really reminds me of a blonde Marilyn Manson or John Cameron Mitchell as Hedwig. And yes, they are both men, but she doesn't actually appear masculine; but then, neither do they. She is hyperfeminine and hypersexual, in a way that actually parodies feminine sexuality. Especially the way that feminine sexuality is marketed. I suspect that they are thinking, if she is an "actual" woman, why would she want to parody what it means to be a woman in the public eye, unless, of course, she's not one in the first place? I think that consumers of pop music are not used to thinking about these things, and it hurts a little. Yes, I am being judgmental and condescending, and I know that there are many exceptions to these statements. But I sincerely think that because her career is riding on faux queen fabulousness rather than typical feminine prettiness, people are confused. And you know, I think it's good for them. While I may not be a big huge fan of hers, I really do think that she can change the face of gender play in pop culture.

After reading all that, I give you the Bad Romance video. Of the bit of research I've done, I find this song the most catchy and least annoying, and actually do like the video. She seems to be directly parodying Britney Spears, Etc. in the second half. It actually reminds me a bit of the video for Marilyn Manson's cover of Tainted Love, which blatantly mocks lots of genres, including the ones he is actively a part of. Also like Lady Gaga's, Manson's is nothing too deeply insightful, but noteworthy in its own cheeky right.

...I just wish she wasn't so tan.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Man equals woman- I'm just a messenger, don't shoot me down

A brief storytime.

I spent my saturday night at Club Androgyny, a new event at Passive Arts that my boyfriend is DJing. Most of the fetish clubs tend to draw a relatively heterosexual crowd, so this night is intentionally queer oriented. I dressed up drag queeny again, and Tenebrae was done up as his usual glamgoth self. His friend– a burly black security guard– came to hang out with us behind the DJ booth. He's a nice guy, and whenever I see him he brings us free drinks, which is clearly an automatic win. He handed me a Jack and diet coke, and proceeded to implore my advice.

"Can you help me out with something?"
"Well, you're a girl, and girls are usually good at this. See the people at that table right there?"
He gestures to a group of three just a few yards away. There is a blonde woman who is over-the-top right into drag queen territory , and a brunette with enormous Ren Faire boobs corseted into a shelf formation. Across from her sits an Annie Lennox style androgyne. Slim, wearing a tie with suspenders and pinstriped hat partially obscuring the eyes.
"Those two ladies and that. Is that a girl or a dude?"
I take a ponderous, and deliberately unfazed look. "Um, I'm not really sure. I'm thinking girl, but that's just my first impression."
"Girl, huh? Weird. Gives me the creeps, you know?"
"No, I do not know." I am much more deadpan than I usually allow myself to be with mere acquaintances.
"Not being able to tell, that doesn't give you the creeps?"
"Uh, not at all. I like not knowing, actually. I respect it."
"You like TVs?"
"Yeah, I do."
"Well, to each their own. But as a guy, it creeps me out."
I nodded in acknowledgment but not approval, and felt very little regret about the awkwardness that I was inducing. He then walked away, parting amicably.

The thing I find the most baffling is that the reason I know this man is through Tenebrae. I almost wished I could have pressed the issue then and there; not out of judgement or hostility, but genuine curiosity. I'm curious to know where and how he draws the line of creepitude. His friend and my boyfriend stood not even three feet away, in full makeup and skirt, long hair and all women's clothes. Is that acceptable because he's not "deceptively" androgynous? He may blur some lines, but certainly isn't trying to pass for a woman. Actually, that would be my guess. In a case like this, it seems to be less about gender transgression and unconventionality, and more about personal entitlement. Many people seem to feel entitled to immediately knowing other people's genders, and feel personally threatened when they can't. We see this same phenomenon in action when it comes to sexual orientation, too.

The other interesting thing is that this all happened in a bondage club. The whole point of the gathering is alternative lifestyles, and on top of that, the event was called Club Androgyny. If he has a problem with transvestites and truly "deceptive" androgynes, he becomes the outsider at this event, not them.

Oddly enough, this interaction was actually somewhat gratifying. I am always proud when able to concisely speak at least some of my mind on the spot, because it sure as hell doesn't happen as often as I would like. I tend shy away from confrontation to an embarrassingly extreme degree. Maybe it was the drag queen outfit.

Edit, over 12 hours later: Something astounding just occurred to me. In my memory, I inverted my response to his question. What I actually said in the moment was, "I'm thinking guy, but that's just my first impression." Not girl, after all. I considered just going back and editing the original post to correct this, but the fact that I completely forgot while I was writing it, and planning to write it, is even more intriguing to me than the interaction itself. First of all, it reenforces how thoroughly androgynous this person really was, and second, it proves how much their physical gender really is not the point to me, at least not under this circumstance. It also makes more so-called sense that he would be creeped out when the conclusion was male rather than female. Now I can't help but wonder how he would have reacted if I had actually replied in the way that I typed above. I'm sure it would have been different. And not only that, but I recall now that I discovered later that the "blonde woman who is over-the-top right into drag queen territory" was in fact a Hedwig-esque drag queen. A good looking one, too; she won the half-assed beauty pageant. So that shifts my earlier assessment from three women sitting around a table to one woman and potentially two men, or two not-quite-women, at least.

Brains are such strange things.